Walkable neighborhoods: building community and social capital

Walkable neighborhoods: building community and social capital

A study from the University of New Hampshire demonstrates that walkable neighborhoods enhance one’s quality of life, specifically one’s social capital. Social capital is defined in the study as “a measure of an individual’s or group’s networks, personal connections, and community involvement, brings benefits such as reduced isolation, career connections, and neighborhood safety.”

Researchers compared different neighborhoods in New Hampshire and surveyed 700 residents, asking them the number of locations they could walk to in order to determine that neighborhood’s level of walkability. In general, more walkable communities scored higher than less walkable communities on every measure of social capital. More specifically,

“The authors found that individuals in more walkable neighborhoods tended to have higher levels of trust and community involvement, whether that was working on a community project, attending a club meeting, volunteering, or simply entertaining friends at home. Residents in the more walkable neighborhoods also reported being in good health and happy more often than those in the less walkable neighborhoods.”

You can read more about this study here.

Amy Donin

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